WHEREAS, In their enthusiasm to address the chronic problems associated with illegal aliens in this country, the President and the Congress have passed into law measures which threaten the well-being of legal aliens, many of whom have contributed to the economic and cultural growth of the nation for many years; and
WHEREAS, In Rhode Island, roughly 6,400 needy immigrants from Russia, Cambodia, Columbia, Liberia, Mexico, Cape Verde and other countries face the bleak prospect of having their Supplemental Security Income benefits and Food Stamps cut off. Under the new Welfare law, a permanent resident must become a citizen to continue to receive SSI benefits; and
WHEREAS, Many legal immigrants are elderly, do not speak or read English proficiently, and cannot hope to pass the examinations required for citizenship; and
WHEREAS, Legal immigrants currently living in subsidized housing face eviction and the prospect of becoming homeless if SSI benefits are reduced or eliminated; and
WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee has recently approved a $4.7 million plan to preserve Food Stamps for legal immigrants, and the House Finance Committee is also expected to act in this areas. While these are important steps, the long-term solution to this national crisis must come from the federal government; and
WHEREAS, Last week, more than 40 legal organizations, agencies, unions and churches coordinated efforts to march to the State House to protest benefit cuts many people in Rhode Island see as unfairly targeted at the state's legal immigrant population. It is time for our national leaders to truly seize the initiative, set aside partisan politics and ideological differences, and resurrect America's historic genius for compromise, common sense and compassion to alleviate the predicament facing legal aliens; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby memorializes the President and the Congress to work together to improve funding for federal assistance programs for legal aliens; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and to all of the members of the Rhode Island delegation to the United States Congress.